At every level you hear coaches talking about needing to run the football in order to win football games. If you look at the stats Bob Gretz breaks down this morning, nothing could be more true.
There are a dozen teams in the league right now with losing records and 10 of those 12 are the bottom teams in run defense. In comparison, among the 10 worst pass defenses this week, six of those teams have a .500 record or better, including the 13-1 New Orleans Saints who are No. 25.
Chiefs history has plenty of evidence of what happened when they could not stop the run. In 14 of 50 seasons they gave up 2,000 rushing yards or more. Only one of those teams finished the season with a winning record: the 2003 Chiefs who went 13-3 while giving up 2,344 rushing yards. Of course, we all know that the reason that ‘03 team did not enjoy success in the playoffs was a poor defense and the inability to stop Indianapolis.
On average in those 14 seasons where they gave up more than 2,000 rushing yards, the Chiefs won 4.8 games.
It sure looks like that win number will be going down with maybe the Chiefs getting to 4, but very unlikely to get to 5. I’ll be the first to talk about needing to draft and/or sign a big time safety, but the top of the list for me will be a true 3-4 defensive tackle.
With the improved play of Glenn Dorsey and the anticipated improvement next season of Tyson Jackson, any form of push up the middle will go a long way towards stopping the run. Linebackers and safeties need to be brought in, but the problem starts up front.
The Chargers have lost center Scott Mruczkowski for the rest of the season, but have replaced him with a former Chief.
Mruczkowski was placed on injured reserve yesterday with an ankle injury that is expected to sideline him for more than a month.
The Chargers yesterday signed Eric Ghiacuic to be their third center. Ghiacuic started 42 games for Cincinnati from 2005-08. He has been out of the NFL since the Chiefs cut him before the season.
“Our purpose of signing Eric was for a solid three layers of protection at the center position,” General Manager A.J. Smith said. “It’s another blow for us, losing Mooch, but such is life in the NFL. You act quickly, adjust and move on.”
I was the one person that felt Ghiacuic had a chance to contribute to the Chiefs this year even though he was happily pushed aside in Cincinnati. He never made it out of camp and Rudy Niswanger — aside from one games of the yips — has been solid this season.
No one will get worked up over a third string center, but the Chargers do usually know there stuff when it comes to the offensive line.
Roughly 115 past and current members of the Bengals were at Chris Henry’s funeral yesterday. Cincinnati quarterback Carson Palmer’s voice was shaky as he talked about his teammate.
Palmer recounted a trip they made to the NBA Finals this past summer when the Lakers were playing Orlando and how much Henry appreciated the trip, saying “I saw all the good he had to offer.”
“Everything about Chris was cool. His walk, his swagger and even his tattoos,” Palmer said. “… He walked past my locker every day to shake my hand as I said, ‘Good morning,’ and every day he said, ‘What’s up, cuz,’” Palmer said. “We’ve all seen and experienced different sides of Chris, and with every side he showed us, we saw just how kind and gentle his heart was.”
Obviously the Bengals will be playing with very heavy hearts this weekend and for the rest of the season. Luckily they can get right back to work today and start to focus their energy on Sunday’s matchup with the Chiefs.